Foursquare Split: Recommendations vs Check-ins

Would you like to know what your friends do? How they spend their time? Where? With who? What are their favorite places? Where are they are now? Alternatively, did you have this following experience: You meet with your friend and tell what you did some time ago and it appears that you were at the same time at the same place and unfortunately, you did not know that?

Foursquare is an answer to all these questions. Almost everyone heard something about the company as itis one of the biggest startups of Silicon Valley. Now, it exists for more than five years and during this time the company raised around $600 million of investments and increased its users base from 50,000 people to 50,000,000! Moreover, since 2010, April 16 is 4sqDay; this date has a clear link to the company’s name.

Foursquare is a social net where you can “check-in” in any place where you currently are. You can also add comments, photos and people with who you are. For that, you earn badges and points to compete with your friends and other users. When you check-in, your friends will see that. If it close by, then they can join you to have fun together or they can just like, comment on your check-in and look at profile of the place. When you click on a place, you can see general information (e.g. address, open hours), photos and comments made by other users about this place. In addition, Foursquare helps you to find places where to go based on different parameters: distance, previous visits of you and your friends, and rating. Foursquare thus helps you to share your location with your friends and search for new places.

Despite the huge success of Foursquare, on May 1, 2014 the company announced that it would split the application into two: Foursquare and Swarm. The reason is that only 5% of users check-in while most use it for to search for places. Actually, Foursquare is not the first company which goes for splitting its services. For example, Dropbox announced that it would have a separate app for photos: Carousel.


So, how it will be split? It will not be possible to check-in through Foursquare anymore: Foursquare will specialize in recommendations of places. Swarm will specialize in being in contact with your friends. The name Swarm comes from the Foursquare’ badges which users received when they check-in in crowded places. It shows what the new app is aiming for: showing the user’s current location and the location of his friends in real time. You will know where your friends are all the time and therefore it will be much easier to find each other to spend time together face to face. You will also be able to post plans to go somewhere, so people can join you. When you check-in, you will also earn points but you will compete only between users in your network instead of competing with all Foursquare/Swarm users, which will increase user interest in that.

Do you think it is a good idea to split Foursquare into two apps? On the one hand, it sounds strange, especially because it already works so well. On the other hand, now each app will aim for more specific user’s needs and then, it likely will perform better. The real outcome of the split we will see in a couple of months.

Anyway, Foursquare is one of few apps that I have and I believe it is really nice one to have! So, see you soon in a bar where you will check-in as well!


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